Over on the Home-Ec 101 Facebook fan page someone asked:
What would be on your list of skills to know for a homemaker and adult in 2015?
This list is by no means complete:
- Prepare a meal without setting fire to the kitchen or poisoning guests.
- Keep a living space clean.
- Encourage a guest feel to comfortable in their home.
- Know how to behave in other people’s homes and in public. Generally, we refer to this as having manners.
- Know how to balance their budget and not go into debt via inattention. Life comes with hard choices, but paying 17% interest on a Starbucks habit is stupid.
- Make their own appointments.
- An adult should be aware that traffic and weather affect travel and it is their responsibility to adjust accordingly. There are times when being late is unavoidable, in those cases, pick up the phone and call.
- Know how to navigate customer service respectfully. The person on the other end of the phone is human, probably didn’t cause the issue, certainly not purposefully, and doesn’t deserve abuse.
- Know that compromise is often uncomfortable, disappointments happen and sometimes you don’t get the job, the raise, or the romantic partner you thought you deserved.
- Know how to ask for help on a personal and professional level. There are times when life is too much for one person to bear alone.
When I started first started writing this response, I was focused on specifics, how to fry an egg, how to do laundry, how to clean a toilet, etc. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the more important overarching skill is that adults should learn:
How to take stock of a situation, identify and research the problem, find potential solutions, and make/execute a plan.
Sometimes it’s simple, the toilet is clogged and you research how to plunge it. You start with the simplest potential solution—a plunger—if that doesn’t work, then maybe escalate to a basic DIY like a coat hanger, and finally, you weigh the pros and cons of calling a professional or trying more advanced DIY, and possibly still calling a professional if that goes badly.
Your budget, time, and your enthusiasm all play into the chosen course of action.
Life happens whether we’re comfortable in situations or not, sitting back and doing nothing is also a choice. In the example of the clogged toilet, if there’s no landlord to call you’re going to have to do something.
Closing the door and using the other toilet, if you have one, is an option until that one gets clogged.
And? That second toilet will get clogged when you’re sick, late for work, or have people on their way over.
This is how simple problems snowball and people get stressed.
It’s not just active problems, it’s things like getting into the ‘there’s still room in the trashcan standoff’ with other people in your household. Who exactly wins when the bag breaks and coffee grounds go everywhere?
Becoming an adult means learning to accept the consequences of one’s choices and actions.
Stop letting life happen and make conscious choices.
Start small and build on it.
Take out the trash, leave a little earlier than you have to, and text a friend you’ve neglected after you arrive before you have to.
Life skill achieved, adulthood unlocked.
Send your domestic questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.